When I am a highly successful novelist I will be invited to appear on Desert Island Discs. And because I am a highly organised person I have already got my list all sorted (I also have my funeral planned in case my family are too distraught to think straight and opt for All Things Bright and Beautiful).
There will be plenty of amusing anecdotes about my family and childhood. Some emotional references to people who inspired me (not sure who they are yet but I’m sure I’ll come up with some) and a fascination with how I come up with such astonishing plotlines, interesting characters and witty twists in the tail. I have rehearsed it in the car on the way to yoga many times, so by the time the actual interview takes place I should be word perfect. I suppose I ought to send Kirsty Young the script as well just in case she doesn’t think of the right questions.
Anyway, “What,” you are all asking, for I can hear you across cyberspace, “will you choose for your eight records?” So here, in no particular order, is the spoiler for my Desert Island Discs recording.
I waited for the Lord from Elijah by Mendelssohn. When the Runners were choristers they sang this duet at a Sunday Evensong. I was so proud I was astonished I didn’t burst and spray blood and other bodily fluids all over the rest of the congregation. But fortunately I didn’t, I also have a recording of that very service so I would take that particular recording and listen to my daughters as I look out to the sea for my rescue boat.
When I’m Out on the Street by Springsteen. There HAS to be some Springsteen and it was really hard to choose. I love some of his new stuff but I thought I would want something a little more jolly to keep my pecker up and this is a real feel good swagger song. Me and the monkeys could really give this one welly on a Friday night
.As I Lay Me Down by Sophie B Hawkins. This is so much of a signature tune for me that when the Dancer decided on the song she associated with everyone I got this. I first heard it on Desert Island Discs. Clive Stafford-Smith chose it and I fell in love with it. It would be just the song to remind me that however far away I am from my loved ones we still keep each other in our hearts.
A Man’s a Man for a’That recorded by the Corries. Choosing a Corries (or indeed Dubliners see below) was so hard. But I was brought up on both groups (and even gave up my cot once to one of Ronnie Drew’s children in an Irish hotel as they hadn’t booked one and I was older and could sleep in a bed). As the Boss is Scottish he was brought up on the Corries and Burns and this is his (and his late father’s) favourite song. I would have this to remind me of him and of egalitarianism should I find someone else on the island and ever feel my previous modern life superior to theirs.
Stranger on the Shore by Acker Bilk. I just love it, it’s as simple as that. The Dancer plays the clarinet and this would not only remind me of her, but would, I think be the perfect sundowner recording on my lonely desert island
Fiddlers Green by the Dubliners, or rather Barney McKenna with the Dubliners backing J One of my favourites since childhood, there are so many to choose from but I wanted something cheerful rather than sad. I’m going to need it on my desert island.
Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf. Another hard one. There had to be Meatloaf, a favourite of both me and the Boss and I think the first concert he took me to. I almost chose For Crying Out Loud. But this is still my favourite, the imagery is so intense.
N’kosi Sikele i’Afrika sung by any Xhosa choir because there is no Xhosa choir that is not outstanding. It must be the full original Xhosa version not the new South African National Anthem. I lived in The Transkei in 1981-82 and it was transformative. This is the only foreign language national anthem I can sing from beginning to end in the original tongue.
If I can only have one it would have to be Sophie B Hawkins.
My book would be easy “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver, probably my favourite book of all time, and a guide on how not to live in an alien culture.
My luxury – a down pillow. I cannot sleep without a proper pillow, and I think I will need all the sleep I can get if I am going to fend for myself.
Finally, as a woman I reserve the right to change my mind at any time!!
So what would you take?